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Dear Chump Lady, Why do I keep handing out chances?

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chancesDear Chump Lady,

If ever there was an award for the biggest, most thick headed chump, I probably would win the crown. I am an idiot chump. I’ve been holding on to a man who consistently lies, cheats and emotionally abuses without much remorse. I’m gripped on to this train wreck relationship like I’ve somehow found myself perched on the wing of an airplane zooming through the sky at Mach 10 speed. I’m holding on that tightly. And it’s ridiculous. And I know it. And I’ve got no clue what I’m doing. Let me try to explain….

I found out over a year ago that the first year of our relationship he was seeing another woman the entire time. She had no clue I existed and up until D-day I didn’t know about her either. And his charade would have continued had he not left his email account open on my computer at my home. And of course, it wasn’t until I had to supply him with her name, where she was from, and direct quotes such as “you’re such an amazing lover, I love how everything feels with you” ripped directly from the emails themselves that he came clean. (Or as clean as liars come anyway.)

He made ME tell him everything I knew before he would stop calling me irrational and crazy… Gas lighting at its finest. I should have run then. He said he had stopped seeing her two weeks prior to my finding his emails. His family KNEW of his double life and not one fucking family member thought to tell the single mom he was dating and leading to believe they had a future together, “Hey!! He’s not faithful! Maybe you shouldn’t have impressionable young boys around a man like this!” No one said a word… And when I asked his mother why she would turn a blind eye to that type of thing, I was answered with a “I just don’t know why he’s so unsettled. I’m sorry.”

He swore he wouldn’t do anything like that again. And in my haze of pain caused by stumbling upon reality, I believed him. I’m telling you, that pain you feel when you first find out is so acute and so blazing hot, you believe and do accept just about anything to make it go away. I stated before I was an idiot… I’ve got so many more reasons that prove it.

Things were okay (not ever great by any means) for the next few months, but because infidelity rips the blinders off of fairytales, I was watching his every move like a hawk. I became my own version of Magnum P.I. And it wasn’t pretty. I googled his name and found him on dating websites complete with updated pictures of himself that he had sent me a week prior and I complimented how handsome he looked in the photo. I was literally giving him advice on which photos would bait the most chicks, I just didn’t know it. So then it was time to confront again… (Why am I doing this again?) I’m an idiot…. Do you see the theme here? He swears he never met any of these women in person, and he would shut down the site… I should have run then.

Fast forward another couple months, and I’m still playing Magnum P.I. While trying to hold a full-time job, a part-time job, and raise two boys as a single mom… I’m exhausted and just want things to be easy… Well, my cheater had different plans for me I guess. He was once again on dating websites, this time Christian mingle.com and even though that hurt like hell to find out, after a bottle of wine and a few thousand tears I was able to see the hilarious irony. And also plucked up the courage to email the women he had been talking with to inform them of his penchant for being a douchebag. “I’m sorry to inform you angelwing2351, imakeeper216 is NOT a knight in shining armor. A carrier of God knows how many STDs at this point, yes…but a man to be trusted and raise a good Christian family with? No.” with every message I sent to woman after woman I kept hoping that maybe THIS time I would see the light. I did not. I should have run then.

There are many other specific instances I could tell you about, but I’m sure by now you’re getting the point… He consistently goes missing for hours at a time, and then scolds me for questioning his whereabouts. He tells me he’s staying with his parents for a night, and because I don’t believe him, I jump in my car at 3:30am like some crazed love vigilante and look for his car at his parents’ house, which of course isn’t there. He chides me for being reluctant to move in with him, saying that my hesitation is what drives him to cheat. He says my reluctance to have a child with him makes him feel unwanted and unloved. I mean, the universe is SCREAMING to me, “Exactly how stupid can you be?” I hear it. Really, I do.

So here is where it gets messy… In case all of the above hasn’t made you smack your forehead in exasperation at least 15 times already… I’m still with him. I have read your book. I know what I should be doing. What on earth is wrong with me? Why do I keep handing out chances like I’m one of those people in Vegas passing out sleazy call girl cards to every person and their grandma who walks by? Why is detangling myself from this guy so hard? We break up and then I cave. I am the embodiment of insanity. And I know it. Which is maybe the most insane part of it all. Do you hear from other people like me? Or am I a special kind of stupid? Any advice would be appreciated.

Warmly,
The Idiot Queen

PS. Did I mention, we aren’t married? That little nugget only adds to my level of dumb.

PSS. He lives with his parents, and me part-time, when he’s not working nights.

Dear Queen,

Do I hear from other people like you? Darling, the blog odometer just flipped 7 million. [It’s actually nearly 13 million now…] We call ourselves “Chump Nation” here. Hell yes chumps are legion! I’m afraid you have some stiff competition vying for the Idiot Crown. So stop feeling stupid and start acting mighty.

I’m just going to cut to the chase — you need to get out of your head. Stop beating yourself up. Stop trying to figure him out. Stop listening to his blameshifting crap. ACT. It’s not enough to know what you need to do, you need to DO IT.

But! But! First I need to figure everything out and examine my motivations on why I’m being this way! And why he’s this way! I need to measure and carefully weigh every excuse, every episode of cheating, I must review the evidence!

No you don’t. I could devote an entire column to untangling you. (I have. It’s here.) Fact is, you’re smoking the hopium pipe and you need to quit. You don’t want to quit. That’s what your actions say.

I tell people all the time to pay attention to cheater’s actions and pay no attention to their words. Well, the same is true with chumps. This guy has shown you a bazillion times who he is, and you CHOOSE to STAY. You have to own that choice. You’re there because you want to be there. Even though you know it is a self-destructive choice.

You either like what kind of person that makes you — a chump — or you don’t.

I sense you don’t like it (i.e., “I’m an idiot”), but you don’t not like it enough to do something about it (i.e., leave him).

Your feelings will change when YOU change. He’s not going to change. He’s going to keep being the predictable, cheating, lying, gas-lighting asshole that he is.

Chumps often get it backwards, we think — oh, when I arrive at a consensus that He Sucks, I will leave. (More research! More hopium!), but it works the other way — when you LEAVE, and go no contact, then your thinking changes. The clouds part. The spell breaks. You feel a hell of a lot better. So start acting in your own best interest.

Acting is instinctual. When exposed to danger, the brain pumps adrenaline to fight or flee. Read that again — FIGHT or FLEE. You’re not hitting him upside the head, and you’re not running the hell away from him. Instead you are waging a battle on yourself. You’re internalizing this shit. You’ve muffled the warning sirens.

You’re not fighting or fleeing — you want Mr. Danger to cuddle you and tell you everything is going to be all right. Yes, that is insane. You could get some therapy as to why that dynamic might be familiar to you (I’ll just try really hard to make scary people love me!) but I suggest you just run away right now and figure out the FOO crap later.

While trying to hold a full-time job, a part-time job, and raise two boys as a single mom… I’m exhausted and just want things to be easy…

In my opinion, this right here is what’s driving you. This is what fuels your hopium — you’re an exhausted single parent holding it all down and you think that partnership will make things easier.

This one really tugs at my heartstrings, because I’ve been there, Queen. I’ve been that lonely single mom. I know exactly how exhausting and hard that shit is. I know the social opprobrium and the pity. I know what it’s like to press your face against the glass of other people’s seemingly perfect, partnered, intact family lives. I know what it’s like to go to parent teacher conferences alone. I know what it’s like to be around smug mommy playgroup cliques. I know what it’s like to send your child on school father/son camping trips and have him have to buddy up with other kid’s dads.

I know exactly how alone being a working single mom feels. And no one in your life is telling you you’re mighty. They’re acting like you’re a bit embarrassing, a bit of a fuck up. And you know what would cure it? You know what would be really awesome? A PARTNER! Legitimacy! Someone to empty the dishwasher! Someone to curl up in bed with after a long, hard day! Another adult to help raise those kids! And an adult to be an adult around and talk about something that isn’t Power Rangers.

And you got a TASTE of that. Of coupledom and happy ever after. Of lifting the burden of aloneness. And it was sweet! It was a very beautiful dream and you want the lie back. And if you can’t have the lie, you’re going to have to go back to the Pit of Alone and the Quagmire of Doing It All By Myself. And you tell yourself terrible self-defeating things that you’ll never have another relationship, and this shit is too hard, and he’s not All Bad, and really you had some Good Times…

… And there you are. Stuck.

I don’t fault the partner dream, Queen, but you can’t let it rule you. I’m partnered now, and it is a LOT easier. Night and day, really. But chasing that dream of partnership, being vulnerable and wobbly on my single self-worth made me catnip to a sociopath. It’s made YOU catnip to a serial cheater wingnut too. And that shit is a MILLION TIMES HARDER than being a single mom. A bazillion googolplex times harder.

Wake up! You don’t have a partner. You have an anchor. And you’re never going to have a love worthy of you if you stay with him.

Please do not model this shit to your sons. Do not let them grow up thinking cheating is natural and right, and we should just hand out chances. Do you want them to be chumps or cheaters? Do you want them to muffle their warning sirens some day?

Queen, you are ENOUGH. You’ve got a wonderful turn of phrase and you aren’t stupid. Please know your worth. But more than knowing your self worth, please act on it. Leave the cheater — gain the life. We’ll hold your hand through this. You are mighty.

This column ran previously.

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Welcome to my world, Idiot Queen…
    Come here as much as you can, Chump Lady and Chump Nation will help you, as they helped me…and please don’t hate yourself.

    • I was an unmarried chump who should have known better at 57. My first DDay was 18 months into our relationship. The final Dday was 9 months later, when I discovered three (!!!) other girlfriends who also thought they were in a monogamous relationship with the Spin Doctor.
      Some of the best words I’ve ever spoken “Get out of my life. I never want to see or hear from you again”
      Next best words “You must have misunderstood. I never want you to text, stop by or call me again.”
      The best part about not being married or having children with a cheater is that you can go No Contact immediately and cleanly. RUN. Each addionational moment you spend with your cheater is a waste.
      Thank you CL and CN for your support.

    • I am sitting here writing this as the man I loved with everything in me is packing his shit out of our place. AGAIN. We were together on and off for 10 years since I was 19 years old. This man has cheated on me with more women then I care to divulge, some who knew all about me and didn’t care, some who were completely clueless. He would tell me it was my fault he cheated, because I accused him all the time, and my fault he lied because he felt he had to. He always told me those girls meant nothing he loved me that’s why he tried to protect me from the pain. Last year, during a vacation with HIS family out of town, I received messages from one of his women telling me all of the details of her affair with him. Basically treating me as though I was to blame. I attempted to leave then. We got back home he packed his things and left. And I cried. Harder then I think I ever cried before. And somehow….less than a year later I’m back in this same place. Sitting on our couch trying to hold tears back as he’s packing because he got caught again, this time with two of his coworkers. I’ve given all I have to give and I feel like I want to die. I just want the pain to stop. It’s so messed up that all I want is him to stay…. yet I know I deserve better. I’m at my weakest moment right now.

      • Foolishredhead, I am very sorry for what is happening with you but it’s good that you have found the CL and CN. Warm hugs to you.

        The important thing now is to get through this and let him leave. Do not stop him please. You will have to take him out of your system and for that you need a complete blood transfusion. He has to be out of sight and if you don’t have kids then go no contact immediately. When you read more threads here you will realise huge added anxiety for co-parenting with narcissistic cheaters.

        We are all in the same boat with you. I found the CL last October and let me tell you this was the BEST thing that happened in my life after my child. We all get entrenched in self pity at first and try to reason with cheaters and change them by showing how good we are. We have a hopeless hope (an oxymoron) that once they see how great we are and how we love and support them, they will miraculously understand and stop their cheating. We all went through that same road, many of us having multiple DDays, many of us forgiving and reconciling a number of times. But then the time comes when we finally realise the futility of it all. This is when we see the light.

        I am still legally married although we live in different countries. But I feel much stronger than I did last January when I discovered his serial cheating. For the entire last year I was on a “fix him” project. And I thought last summer it had worked! He was transforming into a unicorn in front of my eyes becoming that dream husband again. That only lasted for 2 months. 12 years of history is out of the window now. But we have a 9 yr old son and there is an international custody issue looming over. So if you can go no contact then please do it. You will see how clear your mind becomes with every new sunrise. Please keep posting. Welcome to the club noone wants to join but we are all your sisters (and brothers) and you are on the road to mightiness!

        Warm hugs.

        • Yeah he’s currently in the apologetic I know I messed up what can I do to fix it stage. I’m numb. Can’t eat can’t sleep…. all I do is cry. I want so bad for us to work.

          • You have to go through your moments and you’ll take as much as you need to take. I feel you may still try (yet again) but we are always here when you want to come and cry.

            No one from my family or friends was able to understand why I kept on handing out chances and I did not care what they thought. I wanted us to work. I still feel love towards him even today. I realise how dirty he was treating me all along but I still cling to a few good moments we shared. It’s hard to let the dream go.

            At the moments of weakness I come here and my strength and courage and anger come back.

            We are here when you need.

            • This is exactly what I’m going through right now. I just realized I was clinging to a dream that only existed in my mind.

              ” I wanted us to work. I still feel love towards him even today. I realise how dirty he was treating me all along but I still cling to a few good moments we shared. It’s hard to let the dream go.”
              THIS!! right here sums it up completely for me. I feel like such a huge idiot for allowing this to go on so long! I’m almost surprised to learn that I’m not alone in this endless handing out of chances!
              And even now at the end of the tunnel where I’m finally seeing the light (thanks to discovering this wonderful CL/CN) he’s still basically on his knees begging for yet another chance, crying, the whole theatrics! But thank God i am very close to the point now where those have no effect whatsoever on me!

              • Hi Kaykay!

                You will need to start posting in new daily blogposts since these old ones are not frequented by CN any longer.

                Good you found CL/CN and let me tell you (after my post you read which was almost 2 years ago) the pain is no longer there! And I do not love him anymore and I have cockroaches crawling on my skin when I think of him. How could I ever loved a person who set out to deliberately hurt me with his actions? How could I be so entrenched in my fear of abandonment that I tolerated his horrendous gaslighting and manipulations when he convinced me that it was my insecurities playing tricks with my brain and not his self-confident and self-secure ways. I am mostly now angry with myself for allowing this to happen for so long but I also realize this was an invaluable lesson and I learned it big time.

                So…just to confirm again. It’s really finite and you will feel better. The idiot is dragging the separation agreement which is a pre-requisite for divorce but as long as he lives in another country most of the time I don’t really care. I still have to thread the waters with caution as my 10yo son is going to visit him for 2 weeks over christmas but I am mostly no contact or grey rock.

                Once you extract yourself from the situation where you have to face him daily you will start seeing the light. I did not know how important no contact was for my mental sanity and now I appreciate this wisdom! I also come here every day to read and 3 years after DDay now I still learn nuggets of truth!

                You can do it! We have your back here!

  • I too kept handing out chances and forgiving the most horrible behavior my cheater ex handed out. The more I tolerated the worse it got and the cycle just escalated. I even divorced him and then it turned into a series of wreckonciliations that I’m embarrassed I tolerated. Chumpy me couldn’t figure out if he would lie and gaslight me as my husband that he wouldn’t go into full Cluster B mode as a no longer married guy. I believed him that he learned his lesson, in between treating me like shit, and on and on it went. I thought I knew it all, all the horrible things he did, it wasnt until I finally busted him red handed and was able to talk to one of his apparent many OW that I realized the full extent of just how evil he was. To anyone struggling with this, stop doubting stop thinking just get out. Mine died last month at the age of 40 so I’m now permanent no contact but oh how I wished I had dumped him at Dday1 and gotten out years ago. All the wasted years make me cringe. Don’t waste your years, they are too precious to spend with these remorseless assholes. Be mighty!

    • Yeah it’s the wasted years you look back on with regret.I too wish I had run a mile when I saw the first red flags.The thing is ,it doesn’t get better with these disordered wing nuts….only a whole lot worse.Queen,you are enmeshed with an abuser and need to get the hell away from him and save yourself from inevitable future pain.And save your precious children from being collateral damage.He may not be thumping you,but you are in an abusive relationship.
      Maybe find a counsellor who specialises in dealing with the victims of such relationships.
      Do whatever it takes to get away but ultimately only you can do this.

    • Beach girl, I can’t help feeling a little jealous over the fact that your ex died. Not sure what that says about me except that I desperately want to be completely free of my STBX’s shit. And I do not see that happening since we have 3 kids and one is only 10 months old. Just thinking about the 17.5 years left of having to deal with him makes me want to hurl.

      • Don’t feel bad Getmefree, I’ve had many talks with my therapist about the relief I feel. CN has also been very supportive. My ex was a true Cluster B and by the end when I knew everything I realized how truly evil and duplicitous he really was. I wasted 15 years of my life spackling almost up to the very end. Once he could no longer hide his true self he did the ultimate discard and checked himself out permanently. The ultimate “you’re not the boss of me” move .

        • Beachgirl, you and I sound like kindred spirits. Just like you, I was in a relationship for 15 years with a total narcissist and sociopath. After things began to come out and he realized that he would be finally seen for what and who he truly was, he killed himself. Just like you said, it was the biggest “fuck you” he could think of.

          • Wow Gilded! We are kindred spirits! Amazing what cowards they truly are once the mask is lifted! I have read up on it and sociopaths do commit suicide, it is the ultimate “you can’t catch me” (why many of them in jail do kill themselves) it is the final escape and FU. The jokes on them though, we will go on and live good happy lives and instead of being “sad” they are gone are actually relieved. I’ve since heard that the last OW (the one I busted him with, the one that ultimately ended our marriage) already has a new boyfriend. I laughed my ass off at that one, I hope he’s burning in hell knowing his twu luv couldn’t make it two freaking weeks of grieving him before finding her next soul mate. They were both about as deep as a shallow puddle. The irony was not lost on me.

        • And, of course, he committed the ultimate narc-parent act. ACT. To murder oneself in order to hopefully control others, without thinking of the consequences (or caring) to one’s children.

          Indeed, the selfish assholes think and care only of how it will further their own, perceived “cause,” not how it might impact others. Like their children. Better that though than to live with the abuse, yes?

      • GetMeFree–chances are extremely good that your STBX/X will check out of parenting long berore the 17.5 years is up. Will it be difficult being a single parent to three? Absolutely. Will it be better than trying to co-parent with a fuckwit you can’t stand the sight of? Absolutely.

        • Tempest, I have been doing the single parenting thing about 95% of the time for years. Adding in a baby (and one with a rare form of epilepsy) is harder than my STBX checking out. Actually, the thing that drowns me the most is having to deal with the financial crap he is trying to pull. Trying to stay up on it and gathering the proof and documentation is a huge drain on my time. I desperately just want him gone or at least to get the divorce final.

          But you are absolutely right in that I prefer being a single mom having to do it all then co-parenting with him. His idea of being a parent is going to a few games and visiting with the kids a couple hours a week (where it fits in his schedule). And he loves to send text messages to the kids which try to get them into feeling sorry for him or manipulate them. At this rate, the two teenagers are going to decide on their own to cut ties with him.

          • I’m also jealous/envious of the ex dying. It’s immature and base thinking, but I have had so many daydreams about my ex dying, and each one fills me with glee.

            • I like to pretend my ex doesn’t exist. I don’t even use his name when I email him. I don’t talk to him or even make eye contact. In my mind, he is simply a sperm donor. Being a single mom would be far easier than having to see him every 2 weeks when he takes our kids for the night.

              • I’m glad I’m not the only one who has thought this! I had an evil fantasy early on that he would stroke out in bed with devout Jesus cheater OW, whom would suffocate under his weight and also perish. To be found next day by the priest, popping around to visit his favourite devout “help me I’m broke” single mum

    • Beachgirl, that’s what I keep repeating “Die,die, die!” Because I still have that fucking hope and still think he may change….dying would have solved it, right?
      Why did he die?

      • He hit a tree, no seatbelt no skid marks, only 40 years old, I suspect he did it on purpose (police have not ruled it suicide yet). I busted him with the OW a month before and exposed every dirty deed, lie, and manipulation he has purpetrated on me over the last two years. His plan of coming back to live with me and, I believe now, continue his comfy life at home while still maintaining his double life was, once and for all, done and he knew it and I knew it. I finally saw behind his mask the night I busted him and it was chilling. He could no longer gaslight me. Selfish, entitled, evil.

        • Wow! Wow. Wow……do you grieve? Was it the last straw of consciousness on his part, I wonder? Or was it to still continue punishing you, knowing in advance you will feel guilty for busting him and will have to live with this? Or are they so much deprived of empathy that they don’t even feel it towards themselves??? This was a really fast development..you are mighty, beachgirl! We are with you.

          • I have not grieved him at all, don’t know if I ever will. I grieve my lost years. I grieve he will never have to face the consequences of his evil shitty choices and grow old and alone. Yes, I had my final confrontation with him when I busted him with OW, and he literally walked out of the room leaving her and I with the only choice of walking out together and comparing notes for the next 6 hours. What we discovered during that talk was chilling. The extent of his manipulations, lies, gas lighting, abuse; he was living a double life (I have come to find out he was also getting side pieces on top of her and I) and I think he knew at that point that his game with his “legitimate loves” was over and that neither of us would ever speak to him again. Of course he and I were divorced at this point, but he was trying to woo me into reconciliation (and it almost worked). Both OW and I went NC and within the month he hit the tree. My therapist believes he was a sociopath. I spent 15 years of my life loving, holding up, supporting, forgiving a sociopath. I think that has been the hardest part because I want to scream at him, but there’s no one to scream at anymore. He’s dead, the world is making him out to be some saint, and I am left to deal with my emotions. I fear I will be angry forever. My friends here at CN have been a life saver. I do not grieve this horrible man who used me and took away the best years of my life. My love for him was true, and he used me with no remorse. There is no forgiveness for that.

            • ….and yes, I believe this was his final FU to me for busting him. He had a rage in him few saw and I think when I blew his world apart he figured this was the ultimate revenge.

              • Beachgirl, thank you for sharing your story. It is chilling indeed. Mine is also a sociopath but only I know. 12 years. Double life from the beginning. A love AP. Constant sex aside from that. The only difference is I did not bust him with the OW but found tons of proof. He then confessed it all, hoovered me into a reckonciliation, then I busted him again with another proof and now it’s a devalue and discard stage. I scream at him when I am alone. At nights. Always. Not sure if disappearing for good like yours did is better. I have to deal with mine for at least another 9 years of coparenting where you can’t even show your true feelings because there is a 9 year old boy who loves his dad and yearns for time with him.

                I can totally relate to your feelings though and fear that you will live angry for the rest of your life. But say, he was still living and making his poor choices…what would this change? You would still be away from him and still with no opportunities to scream, right?

                I wonder would kickboxing help? What country in are you geographically?

              • Longtimechump, you make a good point. Maybe I’m most angry he doesn’t have to face the consequences of his actions against me (they could fill a novel). I guess if he were alive and I was NC it wouldn’t be much different, but I would be waiting for the karma bus to show up (yes I know I’m not supposed to, but I haven’t reach MEH yet). I live in United States, actually I’ve become quite the gym rat, getting physical in that way is very helpful and I physically feel better than I have in years. Mentally, I’m working on it. I know my Tuesday will come and MEH will finally show up.

  • This post describes what I went through exactly.

    I would agree with Chump Lady: “when you LEAVE, and go no contact, then your thinking changes”.

    Leave first, think later. It will happen, trust me.

    • Yes, I had to get away from the mindfuck first before I could see clearly. The cheater’s ploys plus the chump’s spackle perpetuates the false hope. Hopium keeps you from taking steps toward freedom.

      • One of my favorite quotes:
        “The truth is still blurry, but the lies are getting clearer.”

        No contact or gray rock are the only way to start recognizing the mind games these cheaters like to play.

    • I never did wreconciliation but I had all those thoughts about how hard it would be to do it all myself. The truth was I had been a single parent all along and I couldn’t see that until…..

      No Contact, the path to the truth and the light, set me free. It can work for you too, just give me six weeks of NC and I’ll have your eyes open so wide you’ll have to think to blink.

  • I know this is an older post, but I am so glad it’s repeated here. I think the majority of chumps will relate.

    I know that, for me, one thing that held me back was my fear of what it would mean about me if I left and went NC. Would it mean I wasn’t capable of true commitment? That I gave up? Would it be unfair for me to ostracize him? Isn’t that a cruel thing to do to a person? How can I turn him away when he is prostrate with tears? What kind of monster would I be if I don’t comfort him, don’t give him another chance, when he is literally begging? What if he is right and I am actually much meaner than I realize? What if he hurts himself after I leave? Won’t that be my fault?

    I am codependent. Every day I struggle to make healthy, sane choices about where I should stop taking care of things for others, where I should let them have the experience of failing, where I should let a process fail so others can learn from what doesn’t work, and that these steps are OK even if the other person never actually learns from their mistakes.

    Every day I have to remind myself that some people don’t operate based on conscience, ethics, integrity, empathy, or even giving a damn. Some people are just prats and they will do anything, say anything, to get what they want right now, consequences and damage be damned.

    I struggle with this every damn day. I am sure I always will, to some degree. That’s why medical insurance pays for therapy. 🙂

    • Amiisfree – thanks so much for the insightful post. Your entire 2nd paragraph is EXACTLY why I stayed for 2 years. I wasn’t pick me dancing as much as I was trying to do the right thing, trying to behave with integrity – I thought I could help him learn and grow and in the process grow myself. Although he told me at the time (with tears of gratitude streaming down his face) what a wonderful person I was, after the divorce was final this July it’s full on character assassination. Now he plays sad sack victim – poor me, she had such anger issues, poor poor me.
      Queen, RUN! Run like your hair’s on fire.

      • I swear, we have the same ex. 😉 I am glad you are freeeeee! Hopefully eventually he will focus his energy elsewhere and you will become old news. That did finally happen for me, though it took time. Good for you for getting out!

        • Such a BONUS that you did not marry this loser, and have not yet wasted YEARS of life and potential good times on him. Also,your sons will forget him pretty quickly I would guess. I for one felt like I had wasted the decades I spent with him if I did not find a way to “save” it. Fact is, the stop-loss is a good plan whatever the stage is.
          I can relate to feeling “stuck” and not being sure what the hell to do, and having a hard time giving up “figuring it out”.
          Because this is a previous post, I hope this write has long moved on!

      • Same here. So much reality shifting and changing the story now to gain sympathy and try to make me be the bad person when I know that isn’t true. Both are tactics to try to get what they want.

        First is the tears and the “I know I messed up. I don’t deserve you or a second chance. You are too good for me.”

        Then,p it becomes the “I had to cheat because you were or did…(fill in the blank)”

        One makes you feel sorry for them. The other makes you feel guilty. Both are geared to use our sense of compassion and what is right to their advantage. We operate out of integrity. They operate out of selfishness.

    • Amiisfree, great comment! The same dynamics was swirling in my mind for the first 36 hours post-DDay…

      Then during a phone call, my X tried to make me believe something that I knew was not true, and right then and there, I understood that I had been used… And that in fact, his cheating was not a mistake, it was the symptom of a series of life choices made by a cheating lying coward.

      That is when I understood that no I did not give up nor did I have anything to do with the end of my marriage. I had been crystal clear pre-wedding about adultery being a deal breaker for me, he knew that and therefore he knew that his affair was like a bullet to the heart of our marriage. My marriage had been dead for longer than I probably will ever know… The divorce was only akin to getting the death certificate.

      The more I think about it, the more I believe that I was not going to reconcile because I feel that reconciliation after an affair is a bit like playing Frankenstein… You can attempt reconciliation like trying to resuscitate what you believed you had pre-affair… The results are at best disappointing, with a chump left with a Frankenstein-like relationship that is a painful downgrade from where it was, looking more and more decrepit with every shit sandwich gobbled to keep the charade going…

      Queen, you are not an idiot, but you are overpowered by your fear of being alone. The question is, are the sacrifices you put your kids and yourself through worth it? For instance, were your kids with you that evening when he told you he was going to sleep over at his parents? If so, were you able to give your full attention to your kids that evening when they were doing homework, wanted dinner or a chat with mom about what was went on at school that day? Who was watching your kids while you were driving in the night trying to bust your boyfriend for not sleeping over at his parents?

      The sacrifices you are making to keep your Frankenstein of a relationship alive are costly, not only to you but also to your kids. Please do start seeing a counselor to face your fears, as well as to learn to appreciate your worth and to put most of your energy towards your own life goals.

      Chump recovery is a hard journey, but it is so worth it to build a better life for ourselves and our kids… So please Queen, go NC with your turd of a boyfriend, and please join us on the path to Meh.

      (((Queen)))

      • Chumptitude, this: “my X tried to make me believe something that I knew was not true, and right then and there, I understood that I had been used… And that in fact, his cheating was not a mistake, it was the symptom of a series of life choices made by a cheating lying coward.”

        It only took you 36 hours!?? You are MIGHTY! I am nearly a year out of the main DDay (there were earlier ones which he managed to turn around and continue gaslighting) and still nursing hopes. 4 months past a failed short wreckonciliation, having had another DDay, now talking divorce and STILL nursing hopes. He is actually agreeing we should divorce but I am trying to find regrets in his statements to latch onto. We had a big fight again yesterday when I was trying to make him SEE that having intimate relationships elsewhere did not give us a chance to work on ours. Useless.

        Another idiot here. When will I understand that I was used rather than accept and process and try to understand another blame that I was not good enough and failed him and so I doomed my marriage from the beginning and pushed him to look for his needs elsewhere?

        • Longtimechump – At the time, I felt anything but Mighty, more like pulverized in fact… And I was.

          It was so painful that it became all a blur, textbook trauma stuff. I was fortunate to be part of a women’s group, I called them and within 48H I had a list of things they told me to do:
          Go stealth
          Get copies of all financials
          Get the passports and all other legal documents and put them in a safe
          Switch all communications to email
          Set up all emails with double-verification
          Buy your own laptop
          Start therapy (the two of you if possible to learn how to better communicate as co-parents to kiddo)
          Secure an attorney – for post-nup at minimum, for divorce if you choose to
          Wire 50% of all liquid assets to your own account
          Get proof of his affair

          This list became my lifeline, I did everything on that list.

          In addition, I researched and drafted a child custody plan, secured an apartment, ordered all new furniture and put it together myself, and moved out a month after finding out about his affair. He could not believe it, and frankly neither could I.

          My biggest insight came from elsewhere though, I came across a book on Amazon called “Get out of Control” by Honesty and Friends. That is when I started seeing my X for what he was… And realized that I had been that frog, you know the one that starts in cold water and does not realize that it progressively turned into a hot bath of dysfunction.

          From then on, I went NC without knowing it was a thing, just went to email and text only… And I stopped spackling… And that is when the three channels of mindfuckery started playing big time… It was so crazy to watch his actions and how they did not match his words that I hardly could believe all the shit that was happening during the divorce proceedings, he lied to my lawyer and his, and from then on, it was clear I had to deal with a really really twisted fucker…

          That only got more painful when he moved his mistress in four months post-separation, and there I was, having to let my kiddo go and live in that fucked up set up for 50% of her time.

          That was when I googled “how do I let OW around my kid” or something like this, and I came across CL’s cool, bummer, wow post. At first, I was like “are you fucking kidding me? What do you mean I have to let it go? I have to let that twat take care of my kid, courts don’t care?” I started reading the archives and pretty quickly I knew and I had found my tribe. That new knowledge was like a vaccine against his attempts at mindfucking me through the divorce, I started using his pathology against him during our divorce proceedings, it was all extraordinarily painful, but I got out, divorced after 16 months. I took less than I was entitled to, but I chucked it all up as the price of my freedom. It does not come for free though, I am left with cPTSD symptoms that I am working hard to overcome.

          But I have stabilized my life, my finances, and my kiddo is doing well, our relationship is much better than it was when the disordered was around. And the more I get to enforce my divorce decree (because of course he changed his mind about what he said he would do), the more I know that I could not have done better given the circumstances, that gives me strength and a good amount of solace.

          Marrying and having kids, and divorcing an empathy-challenged cheating coward is a difficult journey, but the alternative (aka being unknowingly married to an adulterer) is far worse to me…

          Stay mighty Longtimechump and please forge on to Meh, I hear there is no cake out there, but a mighty good array of delicious peaceful pies!

          • @Chumptitude:

            Thanks for your post. You always include so much helpful information for the newcomer.

            It sounds like you are doing so well given the asshole you unwittingly married. He obviously is a special kind of control freak to be able to victimize you. Your intelligence and compassion radiate.

            I have been doing what you say you did: “using his pathology against him,” for he last few weeks with the STBXW. I am in full-on manipulation mode. I actually got her to respond to an emotional text and promise to do something for court. I just couldn’t wait any longer for the pressure of the legal system. I had to use my knowledges of her sickness to speed the process. But when I am done each day I have to detox! She’s poison!

            But I refuse to be married to a sociopath for one day longer than I must.

            Blessings to all today and in 2017!

            • Thank you Dubious for your kind words, and please hang in there…

              There are no good solutions when divorcing a disordered spouse, and if yours is anything like my X, I believe they relish every bit of control they think they have over you.

              My X is a master at making statements that are at the edge of truth yet vague enough to mislead… My lawyer picked up on that, and we both changed our way of communicating with him so he had to answer direct questions with yes or no answers.

              In addition to this, I also refused to speak with him in person, only text and email, and I showed up at our divorce meeting with a pretty good poker face…He completely lost it and during what was agreed to be our last negotiation session out of court, he started screaming and cursing at me in a room full of professionals. He lost it so much they had to escort him to a different conference room so we could finish our negotiations…

              Your time will come Dubious, you will finish this process, one day you will be divorced from your wife, and you will be free. To get there, remember that yes, it is very painful to divorce a disordered spouse, but that you get to do so… She is stuck being her forever, and that is her karma. So please hang in there, stay strong and push this through, the healing and peace that comes post-divorce is well worth it!

              (((Dubious)))

          • Thank you, Chumptitude! Lots of useful info although much does not relate to me (aka financials, accounts, etc). In the last 6 years our marriage turned into long distance one, he in his home country in the middle east after the 2011 uprising, while i came to Canada with our 3year old son then. We never had joint accounts. Never joint laptops. His were always password protected. I had no idea how much he made. He was giving me monthly home allowance when we lived together and that was it.

            He quit work about the same time my son and I moved to canada. He now mostly lives off the rent from his dad’s properties. But all those properties are on his mother’s name. He also does an online part time journalism work and so his official income for tax purposes in Canada is far less than mine. I may end up paying him if I start the war (meaning not go amicable way during divorce) and they look at incomes. We don’t own anything together. In Canada I live in a rental apartment.

            He now pays me a monthly allowance to help out with kid’s expenses. We don’t have things to split or share which makes it easier. He only wants a joint custody. His idea is to continue as is with the logistics: he visits in the summer for 1-2 months, a couple of weeks during Easter and we (or our son) come visit him during christmas/ new year for 2 weeks. This has been the set up anyway except that we were a family. He now is pushing for a joint custody and same set up to be easy on our son, i.e. everything stays the same in our son’s life: he mostly lives with me while dad is visiting 1 or 2 times a year.

            I shared my story in a forum and got some great advice. I was/am mainly afraid he may pull a trigger and keep our son with him since they both are citizens of his country, while I am not. Even if we do the divorce in Canada where we are all also citizens, he may still do this out of spite. In the middle east the children belong to fathers, especially when mothers are not even recognized as citizens.

            I am on his territory now, discussing divorce, being pushed by his friend to reckoncile (useless), and mostly acting civilized on the beach. We went horseriding today and took family pictures on his phone. Ha! I wonder why he keeps doing that. My son really craves his Dad”s attention and is now totally enjoying it with all the boy’s activities on the beach. So my thinking is along this line: if we start the divorce, and see each other these limited time periods and act civilized, I can even postpone telling my son. He has been extremely sensitive of my swinging moods past 3 years when things started surfacing and expressed fears of me divorcing his dad so many times. I always tried to reassure him since he was already sensing the threat as his dad was not living with us, but now it’s real. He told me yesterday that he wanted the 3 of us to sleep together and I just told him I was very upset with his dad so it was not going to happen. He witnessed our failed wreckonciliation in the summer when we became all lovey dovey again and now back to coldness, so I don’t want to traumatise him more. Considering I will only see the cheater once in a while…maybe I should give an opportunity to my son to live a little more in this bliss and let his dad stay with us when he visits (sleep separately)? Alternatively, he can stay at his mother’s (neighbouring building) but then I will have to cut the relationship and answer all my son’s questions. Technically, I am not against dotting the i’s but there is this international custody issue that is always a danger in the background if I go onto the offensive.

            If I could only achieve meh I would be able to pull this off with the minimum trauma on our son.

            Thoughts?

            • Longtimechump,

              If I understand correctly:
              You, your poor excuse of a husband and your son are dual citizens, Canadians and another country in the Middle East
              Your son is 9 years old
              Your son has lived with you for the majority of the time in Canada for 6 years
              Your mother-in-law lives in Canada in a building close to where you live
              Your poor excuse of a husband only sees his son 1-2 months in Canada and then 2 weeks or so in the summer in the other country

              Your fears:
              Your husband will take your son to the other country and you won’t see your son anymore.
              You are heartbroken at the thought of telling your son that you and your husband are divorcing.
              You are making decent money and are afraid you will need to pay your husband if you divorce him.

              Is that correct? If so, I think you have been so thoroughly mindfucked that you are being your own paralyzing enemy. You believe your husband but here is the problem, he is telling you things to make you afraid of consequences that might not be accurate at all.

              If your son and yourself are both Canadian citizens and he has been living there, going to school and thriving, and that the other country is not a signatory of the Hague Convention on international children abduction, then I believe you have a strong case for divorcing your husband and keeping your son in Canada. The courts might decide that all visitations should be taking place in Canada, and that is that.

              You want to protect your son from pain, but he is already in pain. He is asking you to clear the confusion by showing that you are a family, because you are not one. And the confusion this is creating for him is more painful now than it would be if you decided to divorce his dad.

              Regarding the money, child support is only due by the parent who earns more if that parent spends little time with their kid, so that is not an issue for you given that your son spends the vast majority of his time with you. You might have to pay alimony to your husband, but that might not be the case given your X’s choices to live abroad and other factors.

              I would really encourage you to start going NC with your X once you are back in Canada. Be vague about it, instead of being available on the phone, just say, oh I got to get to something, can you please write me about this? Text and email from now on, it’s easy as he lives abroad. Watch out of your MIL, you are the access point to her grandson, so retreat from her and make sure you are pleasant but do not let her talk you into anything.

              Instead, seek a lawyer who is specialized in international custody, and also seek therapy so you can start clearing your mind and regain your freedom.

              You need to feed your mind with facts, you need to learn if the threats made by your X are real risks to you or only illusions that have kept you in your chumpy state of servitude for 6(!) years. At minimum, please read “why does he do that?” by Lundy Bancroft, and “Not to people like us?” by Weitzman.

              My biggest ask is to stop believing what he wants you to believe, check the facts, you are financially independent, you are a Canadian, and have been the primary custody parent for your son on your own for 6 years, all of this is a great case for you and he (and his mom) are probably very afraid that you become aware of that as this will spell the end of their control over your life. Please do start reading about control and mental abuse in affluent families, and free your mind so you can then figure out an action plan for yourself, not based on them manipulating you through your fears and taking advantage of your good nature.

              • Champtitude, thank you so much! I will read and re-read your post. Fear keeps me paralyzed-yes.

                You got everything right except that I am Not the citizen of his country, but my son is as he was born here. My paralysis fear is that the cheater may simply come to Canada, get my son from school and leave using his other passport (not Canadian one) while I am at work.

                Now on the other hand, he is soooo not into being a responsible adult parent and so I don’t think he would want our son with him here. He will do EVERYTHING POSSIBLE though to mindfuck our boy later on. The idea is to have as much fun, travels etc as possible and then lure him in with money. I know I am looking years ahead but I already see how he’ll do it. Just as his father did in fact.

                I hope he will get his father’s fate: rot in a wheelchair suffering from alzheimer’s for 15 years. When my husband returned to his country from Canada (who in the right mind would do it right after the university) and then got stuck with his ailing father, the story was that he was so noble and good child etc etc that he put aside his youth and career and devoted his life to taking care of his father. We met about 5 years later when his dad was in a nursing home and already in a vegetable state. I was also so impressed with his sensitive nature: parents divorced when he was 12 and the father was never a father figure even before, let alone after. He kept badmouthing his mom all the time. Now I know why so many years were devoted to all expenses, massages, doctors etc because he had to fight for a sole custody over his dad with the step mother. That sole custody gave him the right to his dad’s numerous properties. He made his calculations well. For the past almost 8 years he does not have a serious job but lives off the properties. Travels, has fun. And plans to brainwash our son with this.

                How i want him to die at this point. I know meh is still far and I know wishing a person who I still love death is no good. But it seems it would solve my problems with regard to my son.

              • Longtimechump,

                You have even more power if you are not a citizen of his country. Indeed, there are many cases where abduction were shown to be a risk with some countries.

                If his mother lives in Canada, he can come and visit. My advice would be that you go and see a lawyer to best understand your divorce options in Canada. The courts in general prefer to keep the child in their current surroundings, especially if they are well adjusted.

                I agree with Wogglebug, your X is taking pictures for image management purposes. The worse scenario that comes to mind is that your X is counting on you staying paralyzed by fear of losing your son long enough for him to mindfuck your son so your son comes to despise you and move with him to his country.

                You can stop that by documenting everything you do with and for your son, and how much time your X is with your son, how much he contributes to the upbringing of your son, and draft a custody plan with a lawyer that you can implement in court as a temporary order if necessary.

                This is going to be a rough road, but it is the price of your freedom and peace of mind. His threats are just that threats, and you need to free your mind and think beyond his threats. Getting data is the best way to do that, with a lawyer, ideally also go and see a therapist as well. Both getting advice from a lawyer and exploring your fears with a therapist specialized in verbally abusive relationships and controlling individuals, the more you will be able to move past the fear and build your cheater free life.

            • “discussing divorce, … We went horseriding today and took family pictures on his phone. Ha! I wonder why he keeps doing that. …there is this international custody issue that is always a danger in the background.”

              The custody issue is why he wants family pictures looking happy. He will use them in court, to argue that he spends lots of time with his son, he’s a great, hands-on father, and he should get full custody.

  • Queen
    If I had a penny (or a cent) for every time I have blasted myself for being an idiot then you know it, I would be rich. And I, by all accounts, am doing well (although you may want to read my desperately self pitying post for help in the forum today) because I am five months out from 3 ddays and have filed for divorce and am here every day. It’s hard. The fear, the anxiety, the big black hole that you feel is drawing you closer every day is tough to deal with day in day out. But the people here will help because they help you out. A lot. Chumps are legion.

    They point to the road out of the mess you could take, then they wait patiently and with love while you ignore it, then deny you need it, then get angry with it, then feel sad about it until finally you step on that road to recovery. Then while you tiptoe along sometimes forwards sometimes backwards they walk with you and while they are there with you they tell you how far along they are and how nice it can be up the road aways and how they did it. They tell you how they crawled along some days or felt like stopping but they kept going. When you start walking again they ask you how you are, they ask about your dreams and your hopes and your life. They suggest recipes for good food and some of them make you laugh out loud which feels so good because the shit they have been through although terrible can also be terribly funny. They listen to you, they hold you and they wait for you to take those steps. They know it hurts all the way until it doesn’t and they speak of ‘meh’ which lies at the end of this road. Sometimes as you walk you look back and see that you have made progress but sometimes the whole road is shrouded in mist and you can’t see a thing but you check your fear because you trust that they are still with you and are rooting for you even when you can’t see them. And the head Chump is called CL or Tracey and she built this road singlehandedly and she has walked this road and she knows this road. This road is a lifeline. Chose the life you want. Only you can. For you. We will be waiting without judgement, but with love, recipes and good belly laughs. I’m proud to be one of them.

    Just to say there are many people who who will help you see how little you are settling for. They will use very fruity and funny language to help you ‘see’ your cheater for who he is. Enjoy that part. I do. It can be better for you but you do have to act to save yourself. So……

    • Capricorn – excellent post. I think you are doing so well for 5 months out. I am 3 years out and feeling mostly solid. But at 5 months it was a full on suffer fest for me still. I do know we all have our own timetable and we need to respect that but also nudge each other further down the road. There is peace and happiness further down the road – and meh.

    • Capricorn, your post was beautiful. Your analogy of the road to freedom and the support of Chump Nation along it was put very eloquently. I cried at the part where you described sometimes the road is shrouded in mist and you can’t see a thing. This is when the loving hands of CN reach out and help guide you. I’ve never met a group of more caring, genuinely good people than Chump Nation.

    • Capricorn, so beautiful!
      This:”then they wait patiently and with love while you ignore it, then deny you need it, then get angry with it, then feel sad about it until finally you step on that road to recovery”…

      Where am I? Ignored, denied, mad, sad, determined, then back to denied, mad, sad, determined….when????!!!!

  • The column/response should win some type of award for its message, writing and compassion. It made me cry in my coffee.

  • It took me a loooong time to face facts and find the courage to make the jump. But eventually I realized the wild unknown was preferable to the hellhole I was living in, staying with the cheating sociopath husband of 16yrs and father of our three kids.

    I also made a discovery due to him leaving his email account open on my computer. For me this was D-day 2. D-day 1 revealed excessive spending at stripclubs, money we absolutely couldn’t waste but he did anyway, as well as a sex addiction that I tried for 3 months to cure by a level of pick-me-dancing hysterical bonding that is horrifying for me to remember now. This was the scene for over 3 months when I was blindsided by D-day 2, the revelation of the affairs: actual affairs with strippers and a real-world woman out there! When I confronted him, I directly asked him if he ever had an affair, and told him I knew he did. So he threw an entirely different one under the bus, someone we knew years ago, but I had no idea was cheating with him, but boy did this explain a lot, but that was years ago, and now I was aware of four women!

    My head was spinning, and I couldn’t see a way out for another year! I was super-sleuthing through records and receipts, piecing together the past, as what I had lived was a lie, and unpeeled the rotten onion layer by layer, revealing only more rot, and realizing that this was unfixable. I began to learn about cluster-b disorders, and realized he was a sociopath, a disgusting, perverted, untrustworthy excuse for a man, entirely unfixable, and I wanted out.

    And it was six months after that, when I had my ducks in a row, when I began the separation.

    So, we all have our timetables. We all move at the speed we can doat that time, and although usually things can be done better ‘if only’, we do what we can with what we have, to the best of our ability at the time. It may take you extra time to get free, but that’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up. Just as long as you’re making steps, even small steps, you’re going in the right direction.

  • Until I left my long term marriage, I did not recognize how my fear of loneliness kept me stuck. And that fear is a very legitimate one; loneliness can be deadly. What I now know is that there is a tremendous difference between being alone and being lonely. During my work day, I am surrounded by people, as I am when my kids are home from school. I also volunteer and engage in other social activities. Still, I often come home to an empty house, eat dinner alone and sleep alone. What I have found is that I enjoy it 99% of the time. I spent so much of my life as an extrovert that it is amazing to learn that I really am not that person!

    I am not sure if I would have had the gumption to leave if my children had been younger. My youngest was in junior high when I learned of X’s extra-curricular activities. She is now in college and it was tough to carry the weight of her teenage years alone. But it wasn’t nearly as tough as the stress of wondering whether my husband was in love with another woman! I think my youngest would say she had it better than her older siblings, if for no other reason than she did not have to experience the constant tension between her parents. No more fights, anger, accusations, tears and raised voices. There was a peacefulness in her daily life that her her brothers and sister never were able to experience as teenagers. Likewise, you and you sons will be surprised at how much better your lives are without your cheater in it.

    I think we often stay stuck in bad situations because we are afraid of the unknown. “Better the devil I know than the devil I don’t know” is how I viewed the world. What I now understand is that there is no other devil waiting in the wings. To the contrary, there may be angels waiting there. I live my life largely alone, but I am definitely not lonely. I am living the life I have chosen, not the life that was chosen for me. Being lonely in the middle of a relationship is no way to live, but that is the guaranteed future with a cheater!

    • “Being lonely in the middle of a relationship is no way to live.” So true. I was so lonely in my marriage for such a long time! That’s why even though it is so hard to move forward after, it is so rewarding. Connecting with new friends, re-connecting with friends from school, even the ups and downs of dating are wondrous; my self-worth is now be defined by me. And it’s not easy, at times it is very lonely, but I will take my worst day of feeling lonely now over how isolated and trapped I felt then. Thanks, Violet!

      • I didn’t realize how lonely I was in my marriage until he left. One day I had to admit to myself that him being gone wasn’t much different than him being there. That was a sad day.

        • “Having to admit him being gone was no different from him being there”. Well stated.
          Queen, you don’t need to beat yourself up. We chumps have all worn similar shoes. You don’t need to stay in them as long as some of us did. You have children and your jobs. Many of us were talked and locked into a prison/dungeon for 20 or more years. You go to your castle and get out of that dungeon. Hugs

        • “Having to admit him being gone was no different from him being there”. Well stated.
          Queen, you don’t need to beat yourself up. We chumps have all worn similar shoes. You don’t need to stay in them as long as some of us did. You have children and your jobs. Many of us were talked and locked into a prison/dungeon for 20 or more years. You go to your castle and get out of that dungeon. Hugs

        • I told my kids that probably 95% of their lives wouldn’t change as a result of their dad leaving. My son told me later that it was closer to 98%. Yet fear of losing my marriage and intact family kept me stuck. I never had either to begin with. All just an illusion I had convinced myself I had.

        • This. Married 32 years. These last few he totally checked out as he pursued his married AP. He claimed he was working late. Nope! Screwing her in the back of the family van with her bleached blond locks stuck everywhere and pubic hair. Just yuck! He would meet her in parking lots. He gas lighted. He lied. He raged. He pitied himself. He’s a full out narc. Hopefully by end of Jan divorce will be final. It’s all my fault, ya know? The people here and Tracy’s book saved my life. I didn’t think I was so crazy anymore. I was actually suicidal. He even asked me why I hadn’t killed myself. Lovely huh. I’m ok now. NC is a spell breaker. Can’t wait for meh. So yes. No difference between him there or not. He checked out. I was his cook and housekeeper.

  • “When you LEAVE, and go no contact, then your thinking changes. The clouds part. The spell breaks. You feel a hell of a lot better. So start acting in your own best interest.”

    YES!!

    Even after I left my ex and filed, I was still trying to figure her out. I went so far as to do research in the latest edition of the DSMMD!

    But reading CL and Chump Nation’s stories made me see that I was still focusing on my ex, believing I’d find peace if I could just find an explanation.

    But, the real explanation, the one that I denied even as it was staring me in the face, is that my ex sucks.

    Accepting that, and then focusing on myself and not on her, made all the difference.

    • Yep, I agree, this: “but it works the other way — when you LEAVE, and go no contact, then your thinking changes.” You can’t see it when you’re in it. Or you can see it but somehow can’t do anything about it. Physiologically, it is a sort of addiction (Tempest may weigh in here with some fancy chemical names but I haven’t had breakfast yet, so I’ll leave that to her).

      Here’s the thing: This is your life. THIS. Just this one. — Do you really want to spend the whole thing doing this, because it is never going to change. So look down that long road of time: You’re 40, you’re 50, 60, 70, 80 — decades and decades policing this guy. You don’t have two kids, you have three! So, yes, your life is actually HARDER than it would be on your own. Never mind the enormous red flags of him living with his parents, then with you — how is this guy going to be reliable for you and your kids?

      But you know that already. You have to find the courage to break it off. I don’t know where you’ll find it, but every addict gets to a point where they say, “No more.” and start the work of leaving. A friend of mine just celebrated her 500th sober day. Her life is so much better now. So is mine. So will yours be.

      Get away and figure it out later. (Also, spoiler alert: you may never figure it out, entirely. I haven’t and no longer care. Now XH is just something that happened to me.)

  • I smoked hopium for I’m guessing 15 years. First it started it with forgiving profiles on hook-up sites, because of course “I” was overacting, right?

    Then I forgave his constant ogling and flirting with other women, because of course the problem was “my” low self esteem.

    Fast forward some years. An affair with a stripper, yep, I forgave him, because it must have been my dysfunctional childhood that was the problem.

    Do you have a problem with your significant other disappearing for hours at a time? Must be because you don’t have enough hobbies.

    Distressed he locks himself in a room for hours and watches porn? Must be your low self-esteem.

    Your spouse had an affair? Your issues must have driven them to it.

    Your spouse is sleeping with prostitutes? Must be because you don’t give them enough sex, or ride on their motorcycle, or tell them enough how great they are, (insert excuse here).

    First, STOP BLAMING YOURSELF! Cheating is not a cause equals effect scenario. It is a choice made by someone who cares about themselves more than they care about hurting someone else.

    I’ve found now that I’ve stepped away from the gaslighting it is sooooo easy to spot from afar. He’s doing it during the divorce process too, but the difference is… I’m no longer falling for it.

  • It’s all about coming to the realization that these people will never change. They just won’t. When affairs are discovered, the cheaters will just bury their actions a little deeper, and continue lie to you and use you for as long as you allow it. You can’t believe it, and you wonder how they can continue to do the things they do to someone that they allegedly love, but just know that they’ve already justified their behavior to themselves a long time ago – long before you had any clue what was going on. That self-justification doesn’t go away just because you found out about the affair. Thus you get the blame-shifting. You are the one that made them do this, they say. They’ve given themselves a permanent “get out of jail free card” and they’ll use it, for so long as you continue to be in a relationship with them, regardless of anything good or bad that you do.

    They won’t change – ever. It’s just a matter of coming to this realization, accepting it, and doing what you can to get out of that relationship and transitioning to a better, and far less stressful, life.

    • I’m still struggling with this reality – not afraid of being alone, but the pain of accepting how someone you truly loved and who claimed they loved you – can hurt you intentionally – cuts deep. Obviously two people in this kind of relationship have very different meanings of love.

      • Imaphool- I completely understand. It is so hard to accept that this person you loved with all your heart could betray you on this level. You think back on the life you shared with them, the memories, the moments of joy and love. You believed you were living an honest life, building a home together- but all the time you were actually being conned. Finding out that your “legitimate” life was a lie is more painful than almost anything I can express in words. I thought my husband was different than the rest, but in the end he made my worst fears come true. Although the pain is searing and sometimes seems like it will never end, I promise it does get better. I decided that I could not live in FEAR and play Magnum P.I. for the rest of my life. Life is so precious and I’m sure you are a lovely person, who has so much to offer to yourself and anyone else who is blessed enough to come into your life. Keep moving forward and remember grief is not a straight line. Some days seem better and then some days you feel like you took two steps back, keep moving forward!

    • “That self-justification doesn’t go away just because you found out about the affair.”

      Brilliant observation. All this time on CL and I still find new nuggets of truth every day.

  • I think I was briefly paralyzed. I was just overwhelmed emotionally and had to gather my strength to move forward. I was shocked and completely stunned by his infidelity. In disbelief for over a year really. When I read Tracy’s book Leave a Cheater Gain a Life, it was like a manual. I thought here is my next step.

  • Queen – I’m wondering what this guys is bringing to the table – you’re not married, you dont have kids together and he lives mostly with this parents – does he help with the kids? With financials? Does he help around the house? Sounds like you’ve got a lot on your plate without this asswipe and he’s causing you even more work, playign magnum PI, losing sleep, you can’t focus on anything else….so is it loneliness or wanting to be loved by a man or just a bad habit you can’t let go of?

    He sounds like a douche who’s using you and why would he give up the freedom he has right now and do whatever and whoever he likes. Queen – you deserve better. And Much better to be alone than with someone like this. As so many have said, No Contact is something you’re in control of – Do It -it aint easy. We all can tell you that. But no texts, phone calls, emails – Block his number – than you won’t wonder if he’ll call or text. You can’t control what he does, but you can control what you do.

    • He is bringing nothing to the table. The problem, with some Chumps, is – we accept that (I’m raising my hand here). They can help with nothing, pay for nothing, not put a smile on your face, not show up, be hard to find… and we just work harder, and spackle, spackle…
      The hardest thing I’m trying to do now, is expect something of others, and stop making excuses for the poor wittle babies! I guess this stuff was ingrained when I was a child, or something like that. I want people to step up, and take care of their own shit. That is not asking too much!

  • Oh dear. Is this a contest for “I am more chumpier than you?” Because I knowingly stayed with a lying cheater for over 20 years. TWENTY YEARS!!! How could anyone be so stupid? I don’t have the answer to that one other than all the many fine theories that CL provides here. Most of that 20 years, I kept myself carefully blindered … I didn’t look too hard for the truth because it would have required me to once again face myself in the mirror. But when the unavoidable truth smacked me once again, I did 2 years of intensive Magnum PI and I never failed to find bad behavior. Had I not found it? It would only mean I wasn’t looking in the right place … it would have offered me no peace of mind. Because I already knew what I needed to know … I just couldn’t act on it.

    Reading Chump Lady’s description of a Limbo Chump is what knocked me off the fence. I was now the one putting myself through hell … not him. Once I understood that front and center, I was finally able to stop. I am mortified to admit all of that here (again) and I think that is a big part of not pulling the trigger. It is embarrassing to admit that you knew your husband was a shit and you stayed with him anyway. Ugh. Add that to all the other hopium reasons and it is hard to leave. But it can be done.

    As this is a repeat column, I sincerely hope Idiot Queen has since taken those first and hardest steps to freedom. It is so much better over here on the other side of divorce.

    • Dixie, what took me far too long was coming to understand that my enormous investment of time and energy was never going to pay off. That it was never going to be my turn. That all those years and plans and effort were lost forever, and it was best to just stop the bleeding and roll up my rug and go. The investment kept me stuck. Letting it go as a hard lesson well learned is what freed me.

      Chumps aren’t stupid. They just give more and do more and try more than is good for them.

  • I love this column. There are a couple of really important principles here. One is that fairy tales and romantic comedies in the movies are just stories. When we “fall in love” with a sparkly type, a charming guy, we often paint him as the person who fits some fantasy in our heads–and often in spite of how little this person really fits the fairy tale/romance fantasy. I don’t know one woman whose romantic fantasy includes a man living with his parents part-time, with her part-time, and cheating full-time. I don’t know one woman who dreamed about a lying, cheating, gaslighting jackass as a partner. But we find some loser and spackle because (high on hopium) we think so little of ourselves that we are willing to accept anything.

    Another principle is that we can’t find the right person to be our partner until we let go of the wrong one. All this energy is poured into trying to make a lazy, entitled, disordered lying jackass into a partner–wasted energy that could go into making a great single life with the kids and becoming a person with high standards for the people she lets into their lives.

    Finally, getting into a relationship should come after we becomes as healthy as we can become individually. And I say this as someone who chased the “happily ever after” for 40 years. I’ve got my “happily ever after” because I’ve done the work on myself. I’ve learned how to be happy as a single person. That doesn’t mean I’m ALONE. My relationships with friends, relatives, colleagues have never been better. And even at age 65, I’ve found that kind, attractive, decent men are interested in me–now that I am not desperately chasing something to make me feel whole. “Fixing my picker” for me involved fixing my codependent self first, and that meant learning to put my own growth and development first, rather than trying to help some jackass shape up and step up.

    • Thank you for this LovedaJackAss. I really needed to read this. Tracy posted something awhile back that your comment reminded me of:
      “Okay, so if you’re missing the concept of a relationship — clear your life, your mind, your way to get to a new relationship. Which is difficult if you’re still mourning (insert ex’s name here).”

      I reread this often inserting my ex husband’s name. Little things like this help keep me sane.

  • One other thing I feel that I can usefully offer. A therapist ‘trick’ and full disclosure I can’t remember if I heard this, read it or came up with it myself. Let’s say if it works I thought of it, if not I read it …..

    So. If you are asking yourself the question why? like the post above, clear your mind for a bit, sit somewhere quiet. Then you are going to pay attention to the first thing that comes to mind when you do what I suggest. The first thought.

    So let’s suppose you don’t know why you are NOT acting to get yourself out of something as above.

    So you have this question in your mind, you are relaxed.

    Now Imagine that you or someone else asks to you take a wild guess at why you are not acting.

    Take that first thought and 90% of the time that will be the right answer even if your first thought is to deny something such as ‘ I am not acting but it’s not because of fear’. Actually yes. That’s probably your answer.

    It only works I have found if you kind of surprise yourself, surprise your unconscious and don’t give it time to defend that thought that is scary.

    My kids know this so well it works less well! ‘Mom, I’m not sure why I’m miserable. And yes I did guess and no I still don’t know’.

    Just a thought. Every little helps right.

    • And if none of that works, go out and pick up a book called “F*ck Feelings” which tells you, in every one of several dozen scenarios, how to move from that place of questioning Why-Why-Why to action. I think there’s a website, as well, though it’s nowhere near as extensive as the book.

    • A variation on this:
      “Why do you stay stuck in this situation?”
      “I don’t know…”
      “If you DID know… what would it be?”
      Then wait.
      The answer comes.

    • Capricorn, I can relate to this ‘shock the unconscious’ technique as sometimes I get a light bulb moment when other people ask me “why” questions. I think our subconscious is already processing things in the background and when we poke it with the right trigger it can come up with a pretty mind blowing answer.

  • Addiction to a narc keeps us stuck. When we evaluate their actions it’s a no brainer in hindsight. We work to keep an abuser in our lives because we hold on to an illusion.

    The only way out is either waiting for the final discard or to take the steps necessary on our own.

    I would have stayed forever and stayed until the final discard. I wasted 41 years of my life. Chumps here have a support system with guidance and support.

    No contact is the way out of self torture. Different becomes a better way of life as your lens changes to one of real hope and an authentic life. It’s never to late to value yourself.

  • I too felt very alone in my marriage. I hoped and believed in him. I really wanted an intact family and he was my husband for 21 years and together for 25 years. I had every reason to stay with him, but I realized that cheating was the deal breaker. And not “just” the sex part; it was the manipulation, the lying, the dismissiveness, the emotional abuse that went on for years. All of that is why I packed up that marriage and quit it. It was not easy to do that despite how shitty it all was. I knew that while it would be difficult, I’d be better off without that cheater in my life, and I have been.

    Once you get away from the mind-f*ck that is a cheater, you will start to see yourself differently. You’ll see yourself as loveable, kind and very strong. I’m a single Mom now and yes, I do press my nose against the glass of those intact family homes and wonder why I can’t have that, but I know that being without a cheater has given me better mental health, better physical health and a freedom that I haven’t had in decades. I’ve had to work for that, every day but it’s worth it.

    See a lawyer, and get some advice. You can find a better life for you and your family. It’s not too late to start again and find a better, healthier path.

  • Queen, What you have there is not partner material. He is LIVING WITH HIS PARENTS. He is trying to move in with you, so he can have you safely off the market and washing his socks while he continues to shop for better options. The man is a child, and if you will just trust me on one small thing, you don’t need to try to raise an adult child in addition to your actual children.

    Just say NO. Or HELL, NO! You can do it. Think long and hard about what horseshit you’ve been dealt by this man. Lies. Cheating. Claims that if you loved him you’d let him move into your home and have a child with him. Now imagine how that could escalate if you were the captive audience he claims he wants. You can pay his bills. He can do as he pleases because you’re not the boss of him. Maybe you’ll be so busy looking after him you won’t even notice his lies.

    Please don’t wake up fifteen years from now and regret how close you came to saving yourself. Do it now. You are mighty!

  • The Struggle is real. My resolve has hardened over this past year, but even I waved occasionally. But not enough to give in. Queen, there is no shame in admitting that you are being chumped and abused, but definitely get away! You have to be mighty for your kids, and yourself. In the end, YOU are your knight in shining armor. Screw him!

  • Let that shit go Queen. Your self-esteem will return only when you cut the cheater loose. At first it hurts like hell, because you’re giving up the dream. But believe me, it stops hurting, and you start feeling amazing. And only then, will you have a shot at meeting a person worthy of you. Because you don’t *need* it so badly. And you don’t need it, but we here at CN understand why you think that you do. Because we’ve all been there. Take it from CL and put down the hopium pipe. The dream dies hard, but chasing dreams and not reality makes chumps of us all. Think of the awesomeoness you could have in your life if you spent all these emotional resources on healing and making yourself happy.

    Good luck! You can do this!

  • I always sort of felt like XH’s mother. I’m ten years older than he is, and his happy sparkly behavior always seemed a bit juvenile, but I chalked it up to his age — he was 22, then 32, then late 30s, and the behavior never really changed. I hate to nag (HATE it) and so will just do the thing that’s bothering me (painting the front porch, fixing the washer, etc.), which resulted in sulky sullen behavior.

    After sixteen years, he found someone (fifteen years younger than him, a mere 25yo college girl) he felt “that way” about, because (he said) he never felt “that way” about me (erections notwithstanding, evidently).

    The point is, Queen (or any like you, as this column previously ran), it will be SO EASY for him to cut ties to you, his “mama,” when he finally feels he’s “grown up” and ready to move on to an adult relationship (or something). — He’s using you, in so many ways. And all you’re getting are false promises written in invisible ink (sometimes by your own hand) on tissue paper that dissolves or blows away with the slightest breeze.

    On a spectrum, there’s Negative-Neutral-Positive. I’ve realized, in my life, that even if I can’t find “Positive” I certainly do not deserve “Negative.” and that’s Queen’s balance sheet, too. She just has to find the courage to leave.

    • That’s profound, NWBiblio. For the immature boyman, often a strong, adult woman is his mother substitute (note how Queen’s boyman bounces between his mother and Queen). That produces a lot of the “you’re not the boss of me” behavior because he’s never aspired to be an adult partner, so he just remains a rebellious boyman. Then a few years down the road, he tries life with a younger woman and very likely will turn her into a mother, especially if they have kids together.

      There’s no substitute for a full-grown adult.

      • Some boymen also use this sort of dual-citizenship to lead a double life. In this case, it’s a triple shell-game. Where is he? Not here. At Mom’s? Working the night shift?

        The cheating Fucktard I was fool enough to marry started going to our vacation cabin during the week “to work” “because it was quiet.” I later discovered he was telling people at work (including his fuckbuddy students) that he lived there and we were separated. Much later I discovered he had a similar thing going in grad school. His longtime girlfriend went to school in another county and came to visit on weekends. During the week, he played the single guy. I found his journal, and it was a page-turner. Girlfriend makes new curtains for Fucktard’s place, brings them over, cleans, cooks, hangs curtains. Sunday night, girlfriend leaves to go back to her school. Fucktard calls new prospect, asks her over “to see his new curtains.”

      • Ditto on the mother figure to my X, except that he was 12 years older than me. I was his rock, he was the waves quietly eroding my strength one hour at a time.

  • On a side note, you write really well. You have a nice sense of story. You’re way to smart to be treated this way…know your worth.

  • Looking back I asked my healed self, “What was the Limited ever satisfied with in our relationship” and the answer was NOTHING.

    Each and every year I grew and matured. Now I understand that developmentally I divorced a teenager in an aging mans body. For whatever reason he used to justify his actions it all goes back to his inability to lead an adult life.

    Every year I allowed the disrespect, he gained power and used my ability to forgive as a means to continue. He upped the anti with each conscious deliberate act. Right up to the end he believed I would fight for him as the rage I witnessed once he was served blew the mask off. I finally saw the monster unleashed.

  • So many wise comments already made. I just want to support how much of a difference NC made in my life and the perception of what my marriage had been. I thought I was happy for 33 years and that D day was a major shock. I was a basket case for 2 years and while we had separated, I still responded to emails, phone calls, etc. Then I found CL and realized I needed to go NC. Every contact would upset me for days and I wasn’t moving past the hurt. Once we were NC, I started to see things so much more clearly. Past incidents would come up in my memory and I would realize that I had been abused and hadn’t seen it. I spackled everything. My marriage wasn’t normal and I was treated very poorly. I became very angry for a couple of years as this all came up in my head and gradually I let things go, one incident at a time. Now, I feel so much better. But I think if I had allowed the “friendship” that XH wanted, I would still be a mess emotionally. So, the big step is to break all contact. Then, over time, the fog lifts and life changes. If Queen has made this step by now, I expect her life is so much better.

  • CL said

    “Wake up! You don’t have a partner. You have an anchor.”

    And NOT the anchor as in healthy where someone grounds you in a good way.

    As in a weight. Dead weight. Something that pulls you down and drowns you.

    Line up ducks. Copy financials. Are you considered commonwealth married since you share a home part time? Kids together? Get his financials NOW and do NOT tell him. Lawyer up. Find out how much child support you’ll get.

    Then kick him the fuck out. Both out of your home and your head.

  • Dear Idiot Queen, you are a mom. Your flesh and soul ties are with your boys. You are their mom, you are their world. That’s what’s under your control. Make sure you rule that well.
    This douchebag? You don’t control that. Change your locks and your phone number. Loose his. Forget that he exists. See how simple and calm your life gets in an instant!
    You are not handing out second chances. You are handing out your very soul. You decide how much value you put on that!

  • It is so difficult to give up the hope that somehow, some way, they will reform. Surely, if we love them enough, give them enough chances, and show them exactly what it is that they are missing, they will come to their senses. Unfortunately, they have no common sense. They don’t possess a functioning heart, soul or conscience. So many normal, intelligent women are brought into this con, and come out the other side wondering how we didn’t see it all coming, and get out long before we did. The night I met my boyfriend, I heard the entire song and dance about how he was in the process of a divorce, but they had decided to stay together until the twins started school all day. We were together for 3 1/2 years, and I ended it less than three months ago after finding out he bought her a car and a vacation home in the course of three weeks. Somehow, I needed THAT to convince me he has been lying from the beginning. But guess what? I emailed her to tell her of my existence, and two months after, they are posting Christmas pictures on Facebook. Him kissing her, wearing the ring that he has not touched since we met. A 21 year marriage, and he has been cheating for 20 years of it, and once again, she looks the other way and pretends it all never happened. It is incredulous to me how good these men are at lying, how successful they are at leading double lives, and how complicit we are by being enablers. Don’t get me wrong, the blame does not lie with us, but I do sometimes wonder what the effect would be if all partners, married or not, ended relationships after the discovery of the first infidelity. No second chances, no heads in the sand, just good bye. If the cheaters knew the first time they were caught, it would all come crashing down around them, would they continue? My personal opinion is that some would, but the majority would not. The stakes become just too high. In my case, he has, from the beginning, claimed their is no love between them, that it is the crushing guilt from his twins that keeps him there. I am now not quite three months into the breakup, completely NC and it is SO hard. I miss who he had led me to believe that he was, not the reality of who he actually is. Intellectually, I knew I had no other choice, but sadly, that does not make it any less heart wrenching. For those of us not married, getting out causes heartbreak, but spares us from a future of pain, hurt and humiliation. For those of us married, leaving at the initial discovery of infidelity gives us the opportunity to find love, happiness, respect and a life that we all have dreamed of. To all, I say, stay strong, realize your worth, and understand that while this pain is really awful, it has a finite window, and we will hopefully all find peace and happiness on the other side of this. Happy New Year to all, and best wishes for 2017!

      • Enraged, our guest did not know she was an OW. She was lied to. Sometimes cheaters deceive everyone in their orbit.

          • I know. He said he was “in the process of divorce.” Apparently that means different things to would be cheaters. Maybe he thought of it once.

            • I’m in the middle of our divorce – boy man meltdown & nasty discard 6 months ago, culminating in my call to the PO-PO and a restraining order.

              I’m guessing he was cheating in some form or fashion for the 16 years we were together. When I started to understand his accusations that I was cheating were probably his projections – it all started to make sense. He is currently posting on Spotify in a public playlist that he has found “his enlightenment – his guiding star – I love you. Xmas2016. Insert <> here.

              Even though my lawyer warned me that our courts don’t care about post-sep adultery, I think I can scrounge up proof he was carrying on before the discard. Funny how the boymen all have the same playbook- woo with music to prove their twu wuv and how “he’s never felt this way before. ” I heard that nonsense, as did the chump before me, and the chump before her. I got stupid or brave – not sure which – and called up chump before me – she validated that he has “a hole in him that nothing will fill.” I guess Viledemort has a history of trying to accomplish that by filling up o/p holes.

              • Oh and I wanted to compare timelines with pre-me-chump to make sure I wasn’t the OW for her. I was afraid of that and told her I was sorry if he had done that to her….seems he didn’t, which is at least a small relief but does not excuse his general Asshattery.

      • Dear Survivior, please don’t fall for the “Lady” nickname. There is nothing lady-like in someone who is dating a very married guy. One that lives at home with his wife and kids.
        Let me ask you: would you date a married guy? And still call yourself a lady???
        Part of the process of fixing one’s picker is to stop falling for everything one says and start thinking for yourself.
        Sorry if this sounds harsh to you. My son and other kids must live a harsh life – the consequence that adults like fake “lady” spew around thinking it’s ok. It’s not ok! It’s very wrong!

    • I’m beginning to realize that about 11 months ago it wasn’t that Oh fateful day when I confronted him with everything I found out, But it was that day that’ll I’ll be grateful for, to finding out who I thought this man was is far from what he really is. It was that day that I was given a chance to get away from a bad situation I had no idea I was in. It was that day that I lost something that turns out, really had no real value. Not to him. It was that day my life changed forever – for the better. Yes its been the hardest year of my adult life and I don’t know how i got through it. Def reading everyone’s stories and experiences has helped. But slowly – slowly, I’m beginning to see that I was meant to find out so I could find my way out.

      Its been 3 months for you. People here say give it 2 years…so we both have a long way to go…but keep going, stay strong.

      • She prob wont get much sympathy from this group, but cmon guys, Pain is Pain. Lets politely show her out and not be so nasty. Our issues are not with her personally

    • Lady dee
      You are so in the wrong fucking town. You are an OW. You are the scum that have no moral scruples at all and fuck married men. You are to blame. He was married. You deserve all the grief you have and more.
      His wife is welcome here but you are not. You stupid twit!!
      Have you read anything at all here?!?!
      You knew who he was from the start. God. You idiot.

      • She prob wont get much sympathy from this group, but cmon guys, Pain is Pain. Lets politely show her out and not be so nasty. Our issues are not with her personally

        • Pain like hers is not our pain. I have no sympathy. At all. Don’t get me started on the pain my cheaters OW put me though. They all knew he was married with three kids. This place is for chumps. People who didn’t know their partners were fucking around. She KNEW. She was deliberately putting herself through this. Who cares what she feels now?!?? She comes here to whine that the man she was sleeping with who she was complicit with in deceiving a wife and mother with wouldn’t leave his wife! She is deserving of all pain she gets. You reap what you sow. Pain is not pain here. Chumps are chumped because they had no clue. No idea. She did. She knew. Now she’s whining because she didn’t like that the fuckwit wouldn’t leave his wife for her. We are that wife here. I have great issue with her. Why don’t you? Do you have an OW story? I have three. That I know of. Nasty is sleeping with other people’s wives. Nasty is deliberately sleeping with a married man. Nasty is not giving a shit about his wife and children or the ethics or morality of your actions. Nasty is choosing to put yourself above the needs of others.
          Calling her out on her bullshit is not nasty. It’s truthful, honest and real.

          • And seriously I feel offended. She, this woman who chose to sleep with a married man and spent 3 1/2 years trying to prize him off his wife, fails, and feels pissed off as he still buys his wife stuff, then tries to split them up again by letting the wife know, then getting pissed of again that it doesn’t work, then comes her to display her arrogant self pity because she feels that she should have known from the start what he was like?!? Seriously WTF.
            And you think her pain is similar to my pain of finding out my husband of 21 years, three boys together had been cheating for four years??
            Really.
            Well no. She can fuck the fuck off. And this is me being polite.

            • Not wanting to raise any hackles here, but most all of us understand how stupid it is to date someone claiming to be “going through a divorce” who hasn’t physically shown that to be true. Some people may not. I’m not defending anyone dating a married person but, after reading that post above, what I am hearing is disgust at being taken for a long and nasty ride by a lying assholean idiot. And if our guest can find some wisdom here to avoid that situation going forward, I’m okay with that. Let her hear the other side, for sure, but have a bit of sensitivity if you can for the also-duped. Otherwise we might meet her later when she graduates to a full blown chump.

              Lesson One: Do not date “not yet divorced” people. They may be liars whose spouses and families haven’t heard about the “divorce.”

            • Exactly, fuck off! Her pain isn’t similar to our pain, she enjoys our pain, until she realized she isn’t that special after all.

            • Exactly, fuck off! Her pain isn’t similar to our pain, she enjoys our pain, until she realized she isn’t that special after all.

            • I totally agree with your comments, Capricorn, regarding this invader. She has no right to post on this forum. ?

    • Lady dee, here’s the thing. You DID KNOW he was married, we had no idea the man that vowed to love and honor us till death were running around behind our backs. YOU KNEW he was a lying cheater so you should not be surprised he wouldn’t change. Are you kidding me? Married is married. If you had any self respect you would have told him to call you when he was DIVORCED. You disregarded who you hurt because you wanted him, it’s that simple, don’t try to dress it up. Yes my main issue was with the man I took vows with but you were complicit in that lying, manipulating and dishonor and you enjoyed it when you thought you were winning. It only became a problem to you when you were the injured party – um, just hell no. I’m not a cruel person but your experience is nothing like the people on this site. You can’t get involved with a liar and then be upset he’s a LIAR! Go elsewhere for understanding.

      • And I forgot to say: who are these idiots that believe these dumb stories that are such trope at this point it’s embarrassing “She doesn’t love me anymore” “we sleep in separate rooms ” “I only stay for the kids , the dog, the money” “she’s imbalanced, crazy, unstable and I can’t leave”. WHO BELIEVES THIS SHIT? Do you not own a television, ever read a book or saw a movie. It’s absurd what these OW convince themselves because they want to believe it. My OW too couldn’t believe he would lie to HER, that disrespect I guess she thought was only my due. If you guys could have seen my eye roll and laughter at that dumb statement you would have been proud. im not ready to date but when I am I do t care if he’s married and they live In different states, I will to date you and once you tell me you are divorced I will ask for legal documents to prove it. No, I’m not joking.

        Rant over.

        • Beachgirl, we all believed lies from the same liars at one time. YES, IT IS STUPID to believe foolish excuses for why your thought to be significant other is single while not single. Educating our guest might help her understand this.

          • You’re right Survivor, I wasn’t trying to be cruel. I’m just amazed that people don’t understand and married is married. I don’t care if he’s on the moon and your on mars, it’s still married until the judge says you’re not. If these OW would understand that basic fact it might make the world a better place. This guy told her he was married. The OW in my situation knew my husband was my husband but choose to believe he stayed because I would keep his dog from him(I wouldn’t) and that I would leave him penny less (I didn’t). Tjey also believe their special which means we aren’t, it’s upsetting.

            • Thanks, Beachgirl. It is rare that we have an opportunity to share with those who should know better but do not.

              Lesson Two: If he’ll cheat with you, he’ll cheat on you. And he’ll figure you’re okay with that.

              Anyone else have some more instructive words?

              • Yes. I thought I was having a mini stroke because I kept losing the thread of what the the person writing. Then Cappie made me realize it was an OW writing.

                The best metaphor for this: An arsonist coming on a burn victim support group and wanting to vent. As we have our bandages changed and scream with pain that even morphine does not touch.

                An exaggeration? Not by much.

                There are all types of pain, but we did not choose this pain. A few dates someone can be conned that a person is not married, but with the Internet and just using coming sense- that dog won’t hunt.

                We are burn victims. You are the arsonist. Find another place to vent your thoughts.

              • I’m willing to give some benefit of the doubt to a brief encounter of a duped OW. But 3 and 1/2 years?!!! Bull shit. This lady knew what she was doing. No further engagement with such a twat … she is not worthy of a dignified response.

            • The key here is that we stopped giving out chances. We lost a rotting corpse. And the OW will always want to be someone’s number one. Hey, its hard work giving all that head and still being second, or third or forth. All that performance anxiety and the truth is the cheater is loyal to no one. So special until they end up with our toxic waste. Ha, ha, guess who he’s cheating on now?

              What do serial cheaters end up with? The last one they fucked. Take a bow whores if you won that lottery. The Limited had options one through nineteen and believe me the pickings were scarce by the time I filed. If ever there was a long term Queen of chumps, I’ll raise my hand proudly where I got off the crazy train. Desperate ended up with the most disgusting pig imaginable. OW get all they deserve. Believe that. We gain a life. Smile.

    • Lady Deee (and I use the term Lady oh so loosely),

      I gather the effect of his wife dumping him the first time she learned about you would have netted you a cheating husband, a new vacation home, and a car. And perhaps some twins 50 percent of the time. Thanks for the thought experiment … it was highly illuminating of your complete lack of class.

        • end the marriage. She missed her payday. All that fucking for nothing. However, she’s here gaining knowledge and I’m sure she has dug her high heels into obtaining her prize. They can’t do normal and then play the poor victim, She’s a predator also.

          • Predator! you hit the nail on the head!
            I was just hoping chumps here would awake sooner to what kind of comments they are reading.
            Pain is pain my ass! I very much liked the metaphor with the arsonist going to the burned victims to “share” his pain

  • I trust in the power of NC. NC helps clear the fog. It will be difficult at first but it gets easier with time. And then you’ll also need to work on yourself. I’m a single mom too. I was very much in love with my ex husband until i found out about the affair. For a year I had to validate myself with other guys. I dated 2 guys and while it never got anywhere serious, there were red flags. I’ve stopped all dating now and my New Year’s resolution is to focus on myself, rebuilding a life with my daughter and learning to build boundaries and as CL said, fix my picker. Because when you start to really love yourself for who you are, you will stop putting up with other people’s crap. Do I get worried I might not be in another relationship again? Do I get jealous of people in seemingly perfect partnerships? Yes of couse. But then again I seek peace in my life right now and drama is not what you or I need in life.

    • And remember, many relationships that look perfect are train wrecks. I have done self intervention and benched myself from dating for now.

      I am just too f*cked up to date someone right now. I was dating a seemingly kind man. He did not call me one night, after calling or texting faithfully straight for 4 days. I used my friend’s Facebook account and was cyber sleuthing him. (Shame).

      I then wrote him an email the next morning and accused him of dating someone else because he suddenly became unavailable at 7pm (date time) and was posting on FB at 6:30AM, the time when a date would leave in the morning, after spending the night.

      Perhaps I was right, or wrong. The cringe inducing part is that I had no claims on his time, there were no claims of exclusivity, we were just casually dating! You see, my ex has done such a number on me, I was flailing and acting like a lunatic.

      I sent him a $50 iTunes card in a Christmas card and apologized. He was kind and wrote thank you, but I could tell he was thinking, Psycho! Like I was Alex from Fatal Attraction. It is not funny, but it is. At least I had sense enough to realize that I need to go back to my metaphorical padded room.

      I was gaslighted so much, I am still flammable 😉

  • A powerful tool to help chumps jumpstart No Contact and stop handing out Chances:

    Stop transferring your emotions to the cheater. It is a trick that keeps up trapped. This is what I mean. I am sentimental, tender hearted, sensitive and loyal to a fault. My ex partner cheating on me, and pathologically lying, reduced me to an ocean of grief that left me paralyzed and reduced to a ghost.

    But, here is the grotesque joke. I was mourning alone! This was not Anna Karenia. He was not staring wistfully at the ocean, tears on his stubble, crying, Oh God, why did I betray my true love? How could I do this to her? (Drops to sand, rolls in agony at the pain he caused).

    NOT! He is happy. He is dicking around on social media. He is fucking other women. He making stupid jokes with his friends, eating out, burping and passing gas (that’s classy) and running the streets.

    The architect of my demise, the author of wasting years of my life *does not give a fuck*. We are standing on the tennis court of misery alone. When you can truly wrap your arms around that fact, it can trigger your buried dignity, and you can get absolutely enraged.

    The rage can be the furnace that will make us chumps stop giving chances to scum bags who are frolicking in the fields of fucking around, while we are reduced to researching medical articles to understand why someone just blew up our life.

    They did not value us any more than 3 day old McDonalds, we were the fall back, Plan B or C, in case someone more sparkly did not catch their reptile eye. Finally getting righteously infuriated helped me see my ex as who he is:

    My enemy.

  • If a person can just make it to this blog, they are half-way to freedom. Once here, I am starting to boil down the best forms of response to pretty much any chump situation:

    1) Insist they read Lundy Bancroft’s Why Does He Do That? and/or Should I Stay or Should I Go?

    2) No Contact, as early and as often as possible.

    The first one demystifies infidelity and nails it as abuse.

    The second really kick-starts the healing process.

    Man, I am glad of this place.

    PS Did you ever hear back from Queen?

  • I have had so many friends support me over the last year. Last month, another friend was left by her husband. I decided to reach out to her (a kind of pay it forward kind of thing). We have met and talked several times. I send her quick texts to check on her and to let her know she is not alone.

    Here is my dilemma: She has been a friend of both me and my STBX for close to 25 years. Her cousin lived with my STBX in college. I have shared some of the awful things he has done. Yesterday, my STBX updated his profile picture to one of the kids I had taken. She commented something like “Beautiful pic” on his post. I feel a little betrayed. Is that crazy? Am I making more of this than I should? Is she just trying to remain a Switzerland friend? Bottom line, it makes me feel uneasy. I guess I am wondering if maybe I should back off from being a support to her.

    Note: I am not a Facebook friend with my STBX. He popped up as someone I should know. I thought…hey, that is a picture of my kids!

    • GetMeFree, call this friend and after checking up on her wellbeing and asking if she needs any help and support, ask her how she would feel if you had commented on her STBX’s facebook page. Just that. See what she says. Sometimes even chumps will get screened out. However, give her the benefit of the doubt: maybe she is still confused. Time will show. As it always does.

      • Good advice.
        Instead of fighting in your head all these thoughts, be direct and ask her what the hell was she thinking.
        Maybe she’s confused, maybe she’s a Switzerland. Just clear this out and know where you stand.
        I came to the same conclusion: it’s best when you ask someone to stand in your shoes, when they can actually feel empathy. Some people don’t have it, others need guidance, others are too warped up in their own pain and fears, that they are oblivious to other people’s feelings.

  • Queen, I hope you read this column again and again.

    Hopium is addictive. We just have to put it down and leave. Go cold turkey. NOT get in touch. Block everything.

    Then, magically, ever so slowly, life gets better. Its better without him in it.

  • No more Wreckconciliations. I will not subject myself to another second of it. Yesterday, I erased his name from my driver’s license, and re-established myself. Standing on the eve of the New Year, I am ME and worthy of so much more. It took a level of empowerment to erupt in me to get there that I’ve never experienced. I swear, it was as if I was completely fueled by the sane voices of reason here. My hands literally pushed him out of my life and out the door. “GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY LIFE!!!!!!!!! TAKE YOUR BULLSHIT AND TROJANS AND GO RUIN SOMEONE ELSE’S LIFE!!!”

    I’m not at MEH yet. But I do feel the occasional breeze of a Tuesday.

    Power on CN!!!

  • I lived this life for 27 years. Serial cheater, compulsive liar. Cheated on me from day one until he moved out again for his newest whore. He was on dating websites, porn sites, even posted himself on the local Craigslist!!! But I always took him back because he always told me his cheating was my fault…I wasn’t doing whatever it was at the time. And it’s hard as hell to move on…I’m working on it. My divorce will be final this month. And he is still a douchebag!!! He just got back from his 16th vacation in a year with this “other woman.” He and I and our kids NEVER went on a single vacation in 27 years!!!

    • AteALot – I hope you are planning a fabulous divorce party for yourself this month! Congratulations on getting away from someone who did not know how to be a proper partner or father. A new life is like learning a new habit. It takes time to get into a different routine so be patient with yourself. Never shall you take a back seat to someone. Love yourself well in the new year.

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